Up and coming all round talent Richard Gau chats to us about his current work.
Being trained in Musical Theatre and having spent the last 5 years predominantly performing in musicals, it has been quite a ride moving into straight theatre. Trading structure and ‘a 5 6 7 8’ for interpretation and ‘how would you play that?’ has been very interesting, creatively liberating but scary.
Generally my musical experience has been based on established musicals with a clear formula but straight theatre is another animal completely it’s all about discovery and getting down to the truth of the characters. An experience that I found to be overwhelming and quite out of my comfort zone, the comfort of specific notes to sing, specific routines to dance and a clear model to base your performance on. But you never know if you can swim until you try and it’s been a sublime experience and invaluable.
I have had the opportunity to play polar opposites with regards to the characters, Spike is as Tobi Cronje described to me on opening night, ‘The dumb blonde’ who takes everything at face value and Phillip who is a deeply hurt intellectual physiotherapist. Both come with great challenges and different processes to find their truths to create a believable character that the audience can connect with.
Bobby Heaney was incredible to work with he had was clear vision and was committed to giving the piece the love and respect it deserved. He gave us room to discover our characters and provide our input, which he then moulded into his vision of the world of the play. It’s a wonderful experience when you are respected as an actor by your director and he trusts your abilities and instincts to play the role.
Growing as an actor goes hand in hand with growing as a person; you draw from experiences in your own life and apply all that knowledge when you are creating a character. I have grown greatly because I have learned to trust my instincts and ‘Play’, it’s also a liberating thing to learn that its ok not to be perfect – pursue perfection, yes! – But being a human/actor is far more interesting because of how we grow with every experience.